“But business backs Remain – so why don’t you?”
How often did I hear this ahead of the UK’s 2016 referendum on European Union membership? How often have I heard it since, now the UK’s Article 50 negotiations are in full swing, and big corporate interests are trying to control events once more?
The Confederation of British Industry calls itself the Voice of British Business. In reality, the lobby group’s stance is dominated only by large companies determined to entrench the advantages of incumbency, keeping smaller rivals at bay.
“Business doesn’t want Brexit”, we’re so often told, but that’s just not true. Yes, large corporations want to maintain the status quo from which they benefit. But the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), accounting for far more jobs and the bulk of the economy, are far more likely to back Leave.
The big boys, with their corporate affairs departments and public relations lackeys, shout loudly and are quoted in the business press. But, across the UK, the owners of tens of thousands of firms think the UK will be more prosperous outside the EU.
To read Liam Halligan’s piece for UnHerd, click here.